Wearing Compression Garments after Plastic Surgery – Why You should

Compression garments should be worn after plastic surgery. They serve an essential function in recovery after major surgical procedures. They are a crucial part of postoperative care following plastic surgery procedures such as LiposuctionMammoplastyBreast Augmentation SurgeryAbdominoplastyFace LiftingNeck Lifting etc.

Why should I wear a Compression Garment after plastic surgery?

The use of compression garments helps to accelerate the healing process and influences your postoperative prognosis. Furthermore, it helps in stabilising post-operative changes while also reducing pain and swelling associated with the procedure. They support your healing and reduces stress and tension on the incision line which can help minimise scars. The garment, in addition to aiding in the healing process by reducing swelling and bruising, also helps reduce pain and discomfort. Compression garments can help you maintain your mobility after surgery as they allow you to move more easily.

What are the reasons of using a Compression Garment?

Compression Garments Help Reduce Swelling

Swelling is a common issue after surgery, caused by the accumulation of excess fluid in the treated area. It can lead to weight gain and fluid retention. Here’s how compression garments effectively address this concern:

  • Fluid Redistribution: Compression garments help redistribute accumulated fluids, facilitating their removal from the treated area.
  • Circulation: By applying gentle pressure, these garments promote improved blood and lymphatic circulation, which aids in flushing out excess fluids.
  • Minimised Swelling: The compression garment’s consistent pressure reduces the tendency for fluid buildup, thereby minimising postoperative swelling.

By assisting the body’s mechanisms for fluid management, compression garments play a pivotal role in reducing swelling following surgery, ensuring a more comfortable recovery process.

Compression Garments can help Reduce Post-operative Bruising

Compression garments not only assist in reducing swelling but also play a crucial role in minimising post-operative bruising. Here’s how they contribute to this:

  • Vessel Compression: After surgery, blood vessels may be more vulnerable to damage, leading to bruising. Compression garments apply gentle pressure on the vessels, reducing the likelihood of blood leaking into surrounding tissues.
  • Red Blood Cell Control: These garments help keep red blood cells from reaching the skin’s surface, where they can cause visible bruises. By maintaining gentle pressure, compression garments ensure that blood cells remain within vessels.
  • Healing: By preventing excessive bruising, compression garments promote a more comfortable and efficient healing process, minimising discomfort and visible discoloration.

Wearing a compression garment as directed post-surgery is an effective way to reduce the risk of bruising, facilitating a less disruptive recovery.

Compression Garment can Help Reduce Post-operative Pain

Compression garments contribute to pain reduction during the recovery process. Here’s how they work to alleviate postoperative discomfort:

  • Circulation: Compression garments promote healthy circulation, which helps the body’s healing processes. Improved blood flow aids in reducing inflammation, which is a common source of postoperative pain.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effect: By minimising swelling, these garments also reduce the body’s inflammatory response, leading to less pain and discomfort.
  • Pressure-Based Pain Relief: The gentle pressure applied by compression garments can have an analgesic effect, helping to alleviate pain in the treated area. This pressure may also reduce the sensitivity of nerves, further diminishing pain perception.

Overall, compression garments support a more comfortable recovery by addressing swelling, inflammation, and pain. Following your surgeon’s instructions regarding their use can significantly change your postoperative experience.

Compression Garments can Help to Reduce Post-operative excess Skin

Compression garments hold the skin to underlying tissues tightly and help the body’s healing process, especially after liposuction.

During Liposuction the surgeon removes excess fat, leaving excess skin behind. Compression garments help provide the skin with support, holding your skin in place while the body adjusts to its new shape —thereby reducing postoperative skin laxity.

Compression Garments can Help Reduce Infection

  • Wound Protection: Compression garments cover and protect the surgical site, acting as a barrier against external contaminants such as dust, dirt, and bacteria. This reduces the chances of pathogens entering the wound.
  • Stabilised Dressings: Compression garments help keep surgical dressings, bandages, and wound closures in place. This stability prevents dressings from shifting, which could expose the wound to potential sources of infection.
  • Circulation: Compression garments promote healthy blood circulation, which is essential for efficient wound healing. Circulation helps deliver immune cells and nutrients to the surgical site, aiding the body’s defense against infection.

It’s important to note that while compression garments can contribute to infection prevention, they are just one part of a comprehensive postoperative care plan. Following your surgeon’s instructions for wound care, hygiene, and antibiotic use (if prescribed) is equally crucial in reducing infection risk after surgery.

A Compression Garment can help maintain your new shape.

After undergoing a surgical procedure to shape your body, (such as liposuction or abdominoplasty), wearing a compression garment is a vital part of the recovery process. It aids in maintaining your new body shape by;

  • Even Compression Distribution: Compression garments provide consistent pressure across the treated area. This helps to evenly distribute swelling and encourage a smoother healing process.
  • Support for Healing Tissues: The garment holds your skin and underlying tissues firmly in place. This support allows the healing tissues to adhere properly.
  • Minimising Displacement of Fat Cells: In procedures like liposuction, fat cells are removed from specific areas. The compression garment helps to ensure that the remaining fat cells settle into their new positions, preventing them from shifting or becoming uneven.

Compression Garments can help promote circulation

After your plastic surgery procedure, you will need to have some time off work to rest and recuperate. However, restricted mobility increases the risks of clot formation and venous incompetence due to the decrease in circulation. This can have devastating consequences.

The use of compression garments can help squeeze your peripheral blood vessels and promote circulation reducing the risks associated with poor circulation like DVT (deep Vein Thrombosis).

Compression Garments provide Comfort and Support

The garment consists of lightweight materials that are comfortable enough for all-day everyday wear. They typically come with an opening at the back that makes them easy to put on or take off without assistance from another person; some even contain zippers making them even easier.

Compression Garments help Reduce the Chances of Keloid Scar Formation

Keloids form due to the accumulation of excess scar tissues in your healed wound. Wearing compression garments can helps soften and break down keloids.

Compression Garments after surgery FAQs Melbourne - Dr Patrick Briggs Top Plastic Surgeon

3 Stages of Wearing Compression Garments After Surgery

Below we describe the three different stages of wearing a compression garment;

  • Stage 1
    • For use immediately following your surgical procedure. They help remove excess swelling that is the result of fluid accumulation as well as reducing bruising. 
    • These garments also allow for drainage of fluids postoperatively.
    • Furthermore, stage one garments have zippers, hooks and eyes, which help reduce friction.
    • You should wear them for approximately 1 – 2 weeks. However, sometimes you may need to wear them for longer, depending upon the surgery.
  • Stage 2
    • Worn during the second stage of wound healing.
    • Usually worn from the second postoperative week onwards (Usually 2-8 weeks).
    • Provide support to the newly shaped body. 
    • They don’t have zippers or eyes. This means you can use them more comfortably under your clothes.
  • Stage 3
    • By this stage, your newly acquired shape will be more noticeable.
    • While the healing process occurs at a different rate for different individuals, postoperative swelling subsides by about three months. However, compression garments might still be necessary if your swelling has not yet subsided.

Compression Garment FAQs – Questions about Post Op Garments

How long do I need to wear a compression garment following plastic surgery?

  • The duration depends on the extent of your surgery as well as your healing ability. 
  • For surgical procedures involving large changes, you will need to wear compression garments for 6-8 weeks postoperatively 24 hours a day.
  • Abdominoplasty surgery is a large body procedure. You will need to wear a compression garment for six to eight weeks following surgery.
  • The only time garments should be taken off is for showering. 
  • For smaller surgical procedures, two weeks wearing compression garments might be enough. 
  • Your surgeon will advise you on how long you should wear a compression garment – Follow you surgeons instructions.

What do compression garments do?

Compression garments help reduce;

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Postoperative pain
  • And, risk of infection
  • As well as helping to maintain your new shape.

What happens if you don’t wear compression garments after liposuction?

  • Liposuction is a plastic surgery procedure to remove excess fat from specific areas of your body by the process of suctioning. 
  • Compression garments help reduce loose skin in areas of the void that are a result of removing excess fat by holding the skin together.
  • Not wearing compression garments can result in suboptimal results.
  • It also results in an increased occurrence of bruising and postoperative pain.

Does compression help with weight loss?

  • No evidence suggests wearing compression garments can result in weight loss in any way. 
  • Compression garments compress your body tissues tightly by exerting pressure on them, giving you an illusion of weight loss. 
  • On the contrary, it may slow down your weight loss by causing support muscles to atrophy.

What is the best tummy tuck/abdominoplasty compression garment?

  • It is important to choose a high-quality garment to minimise your post-op discomfort. This will make your recovery a little easier.
  • Given that you will be wearing it for about two months, you don’t want it to be uncomfortable. It can make your recovery harder if you choose a  low-quality garment.
  • Therefore, the quality of a compression garment is important not only for your comfort but for your recovery as well.

What are some features to consider before choosing your compression garments? 

  • Materials with good Antibacterial properties that prevent bacterial growth on the skin.
    • Controlling bacterial growth also reduces odors.
  • Garments with breathable materials.
    • These provide you comfort by reducing sweating and keeping you dry. Whereas, poor garment materials can lead to impaired wound healing.
  • A piece of good durable fabric with plenty of stretches that can fit your body area comfortably.
  • Compression garments with moisture-wicking properties.
    • Moisture-wicking properties no only help keep your skin dry but also helps reduce bacterial spread. 
  • Seamless design to avoid unnecessary irritation on the skin.
  • Compression garments with zippers or hook-and-eye closures reduce friction. In other words, you will not have to strain when taking the garment on and off. 

Are there any other ways to reduce swelling in addition to compression garments?

  • Swelling is a response of the body’s inflammatory process to any surgery. However, too much swelling can result in aesthetic and functional complications.
  • There are a few things you can do to minimise excessive swelling and fluid collection that occurs after surgery in addition to compression garments, which includes:
  • Applying cold compresses at the site of swelling for a few days following surgery
  • Elevating your incision site above heart level using inclined pillows helps drain away fluid and reduce swelling caused by fluid retention.
  • Avoid salty foods.
    • Salt contains Na+ ions, which hold water and pulls water towards the body, resulting in excess fluid being accumulated in the body and causing it to swell.
  • Avoid the use of diuretics. 

What happens if my compression garment is too tight?

The compression garment you wear should be comfortable yet exert adequate pressure to support the healing area. It should not be too tight. Wearing too-tight compression garments causes it to bunch up, this, in turn, may cause the blood supply to be compressed. Moreover, pressing on blood vessels too tightly can result in skin hyperpigmentation. Adequate circulation is very important for your recovery.  

So, remember wearing a compression garment that is too tight can cause more harm than good. The use of poorly fitting compression bandages increases the risk of lymphedema.

How tight should your compression garment be after surgery, and how to know if it is the correct fit for you?

Compression garments should be tight enough to provide adequate support to healing areas but not so tight that they cause difficulty and discomfort. As mentioned above, wearing garments that are too tight do more harm than good, a compression garment should fit snugly to your body and should be comfortable. Furthermore, you should be able to slide your hand inside the garment comfortably without strain in an adequately tight compression garment.

Further Medical References about wearing Compression Garments after Surgery

PubMed on Compression garments 101
Complete Guide to Wearing Compression Garments After Surgery (beldholm.com.au)
Support Compression Garments | New Body Specialists
Stage 1 surgical compression garments at Pharmathera.com
Tierney Orthotics and Prosthetics, Winston-Salem, NC on How Compression Garments Improve Your Circulation

Dr Patrick Briggs Melbourne

Dr Patrick Briggs FRACS (Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) is a Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon.

Both he and his team are dedicated to patient care and are committed to treating each and every patient with respect and privacy.

Furthermore, he is experienced in BreastBody and Face Surgery having performed over 4500 Surgeries in private practice.

How can we help?

Dr Briggs’ Patient Coordinators take pleasure in assisting you with any questions when considering a plastic surgery procedure. Please call the Hawthorn East clinic in Melbourne between 9 AM – 5 PM on Weekdays.

Phone (03) 8849 1400 Or Email us.

What Next?

Want more information about your Procedure?

  • For more information about pricing and payment methods, please visit our page on Surgery Payment options.
  • Talk to our Patient Care Team from 8 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday on (03) 8849 1400.

What to Bring to Your Consultation

  • If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
  • Take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents your surgeon provides.
  • You may need to undress so it’s a good idea to wear simple clothes.

How to Book a Consultation

  • Dr Briggs’ Consultation fee is $300.
  • A referral from your GP or your specialist is essential (as of the 1st July 2023).
  • Please contact the Patient Care Team at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery to book your consultation.


The information provided in this article is for educational and informational proposes. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article. The author and publisher of this article make no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, or completeness of the content of this article. The information contained in this article is strictly at your own risk.